Father in Amber Alert case released without charges says police

'Potential risk' to GTA prompts increased police presence in Toronto
Police are seen in Toronto, on Thursday, July 12, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

father sought by police after his five-year-old daughter became the subject of an Amber Alert will not be facing charges in the case, police said Wednesday.

York regional police Const. Andy Pattenden said the 25-year-old man was taken into custody when the girl was found safe Tuesday afternoon within about an hour of the alert being issued.

Pattenden said the man was released later the same evening without charges, and added that police do not currently anticipate laying any in the future.

The officer declined to discuss the reasons for the decision, but said police were initially operating on information that appears to have been inaccurate.

“We had information at the time to believe that he did not have access to the child,” Pattenden said in a telephone interview. “We found now that he did have access to the child.”

Police issued the Amber Alert _ a bulletin broadcast in specific cases when a child is believed to be in danger and police can identify a suspect or suspect vehicle _ a few hours after the girl was picked up from her school in Markham, Ont.

Pattenden said police were originally told the child was taken from her classroom, but said in fact her father signed her out at the school office at around 2 p.m. He provided no details about why she was leaving school at that time.

Police said father and daughter got into a minivan cab and were dropped off at an unspecified second location, where they got into another vehicle.

Pattenden said the pair was found just before 6 p.m. near the second location, after someone saw them in a business and recognized them from photos shared through the Amber Alert.

Police had been scouring the area with helicopters, canine units and patrols in search of the pair at the time they were found.

Pattenden said the police belief at the time that the girl was in danger came from “a variety of sources,” but declined to provide further details.

He said the Amber Alert was justified based on the information they had at the time, pointing to both the happy ending and speedy resolution as proof that the move was effective.

“The system worked,” he said. “She was found safely and quickly, and that’s ultimately the objective.”